Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beating Myself Up.

Gabriel had his first ever bottle of formula today while I worked.

I know I should be proud, I know I should feel successful, I know I should feel accomplished and privileged for what I have done for my baby. It is a feat that I made it from March to August as a working, pumping Mommy without supplementing. Heck, I should still be reveling in my 210 oz. milk donation.

But just that 6 oz. bottle of formula made me feel other things: defeated, guilty, and angry.

It will amount to at max 18 oz. formula per week. Three feedings away from Mommy per week. That's three feedings he does not actually nurse from me. And those three feedings I just cannot replace by pumping.

And I'm probably, as they say, a "tool" for sitting here upset about this when my baby is headed to the 10-month-old category. In other words, I should be grateful that for almost 10 months, Gabriel only nursed or had Mommy's milk.

Nevertheless, I am feeling defeated that my body could not respond to the pump, guilty that my baby is consuming something other than liquid gold, and angry that I am not with him to prevent this from happening.

Yes, I'm angry. I'm angry that even though I planned and worked so hard for my baby to only have breast milk the entire first year, he is not only having breast milk. I'm angry because I went sleepless, I fought my baby's initial weight loss and jaundice with tenacity, I've been bitten, I've gotten milk on my clothes at work before meetings, and so on. I'm mad that despite all of these efforts and sacrifices, I did not make it to my ultimate goal.

I hate being negative, and I am truly a very thankful person, but this is where I am tonight. It's a crappy thing to post about, but it is part of my breastfeeding journey, and it warrants a voice on the blog just the same...


  1. You are amazing! Some people can't breast feed at all and some people don't even try! I am so proud of you for feeding him (and continuing to do so). You have accomplished so much and you know (as I heard you give advise to someone else) that ANYTHING is better than nothing. And you have done much more than anything. You have done everything.

    To be honest, I don't respond to the pump at all. I haven't since Dalia was like 5 or 6 months old. I never really got anything. If I were working I would have to supplement as well.

    Lots of love and hugs to you at a hard time. I teared up just reading this!


  2. I have been fortunate (SAHM) and not have a reason to use formula yet. But I cannot tell you how much I have thought about if I had to and what it made me feel. It's unjustified for us to feel this way. Especially, from what I've read of you - donated as well!! Amazing.

    So many times I have looked at Formula on the shelf and thought about buying it for one reason or another. Emergency supply etc. (I have that issue with lipase in breastmilk that makes my milk go bad super fast even in the freezer so I can't keep much of a supply over a week). I just never can do it. And it's silly because once in awhile and especially now that we've passed the 9 month mark - it wouldn't be such a big deal.

    I've been following you for awhile. I'm not sure if I've commented before but if I haven't *waves*

  3. Many, many, many hugs -- you have done a terrific job for your son. You may see this as a fail, but you made it so much further than most American mothers, and much further than other working & breastfeeding moms.

    I had tremendous guilt that I was not able to successfully breastfeed my son, but he is a wonderful, bright, loving and affectionate child despite my failure. I was successful with my daugther, but it was tougher than I ever thought it could be to pump at work. She reverse cycled and I ended up nursing her nearly all night because she hated bottles. And she's wonderful, bright, loving and affectionate, too.

    Though our children benefit from our breastmilk, they benefit even more for having loving parents who make the best choices they can for them. Including this one. ((( hug )))

  4. It is unfair and sad, I totally get where your thought process is coming from. Just the fact that you're having these thoughts, though, just serves to illustrate what a wonderful, amazing, engaged mom you are to your little one. You are doing EVERYTHING in your power to give your best to your baby and those three feedings a week are not going to make a difference in his well-being. A lot of moms at this point would go to formula completely. You are so dedicated. Your son is very, very lucky to have a mom like you and I bet he'd tell you that if he could.

  5. Thank you so much for your extremely encouraging comments. They really meant a lot to me. I am feeling better about things now-- it was a hard day, but now I am focusing on the positive... I'm still nursing, and if things keep up, I will nurse the entire year. You are all such amazing women. I am honored to have such amazing, educated, positive, and socially-responsible readers.

  6. Even though I am a firm believer in breastfeeding(I am convinced there is nothing emotionally and nutritionally better for your baby than breastfeeding) I do want to encourage you to realize that we live in a real world where not everything always goes according to the plan, no matter how hard we try. And for those moments which make you feel so angry and discouraged one can do no more than prepare ahead. I have been reading a lot on Dr. Mercola's website and recently I found a link to a homemade formula which nutritionally is a very close substitute for breastmilk, which in emergency situations like yours could be a perfect lifesaver. And since you are the one preparing it you know what quality of ingredients you are putting into it. So, I hope, this cheers you up :) Here's the link to where they have a bunch of recipes. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/10/11/healthy-alternative-to-conventional-infant-formula-part-1.aspx